It is a crazy time in the world, and it behooves us to take care of ourselves well to properly weather this storm and come out as unscathed as possible after this is over. Let’s make smart decisions and set ourselves up to actually thrive. Yes? Let’s do this also!
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting every thread in the fabric of our lives from where and how we work, to how our kids are educated, to how much internet bandwidth we need, to what food we have available, to how we entertain ourselves. Even to how much toilet paper we have to wipe our butts. LOL (a little humor never hurts!)
How we initially choose to respond to this challenge will have a trickling effect in all areas of our lives. While we don’t want to overreact, be alarmists, and trigger panic, we do want to be responsible in all our actions and decisions.
It goes without saying that some behaviors and reactions are just not acceptable – like racial distancing, violent, illegal, and completely immature behaviors. There are some crazy arrest stories in the news. Seriously?
For those that have been lagging in taking this situation seriously because “you are not worried”, you are putting yourself and others at risk. You don’t have to believe this is a dire situation if you don’t want to. But why not be proactive and responsible, nonetheless. Just in case. There is nothing to lose in been precautious. The saying, better be safe than sorry came to be for a reason…
For example, I rarely come down with anything or get sick. Therefore, I’m not one to worry about getting sick. I can be exposed to sick people and not catch what they have (or at least not be symptomatic!). Yet, I moved all our in-person sessions online to protect clients from each other. Also, I could be a carrier and infect others and not even know it. So, I’m doing my part in reducing the chances of additional spread.
Thus, being proactive and responsible means: Self-quarantining at any indication of exposure or infection. It means avoiding unnecessary risks and practicing conscientious Social Distancing with respect and compassion. It means following all the guidelines presented by authorities, and where we believe they are lagging taking our own preventative actions.
We do have the whole world east of us exemplifying what to expect. We are smart, we can make our own inferences. We don’t have to wait for all planes to get grounded to cancel travel plans or for other govermental measures. It is our responsibility to enact personal agency and take proactive initiative for our own and others safety.
Once you are onboard with doing your part in the face of craziness, the next thing is to set yourself up to seamlessly weather the storm. I’ll even go as far as suggesting, to make the most of this situation and look for possible opportunities to enhance your and your loved ones’ lives in the end…
From Surviving to Thriving…
- Setting up your family: With everybody in the family possibly being stuck at home for the next couple to few weeks, adjust your daily routine, home spaces and activities to account for all family members’ needs.
You might want to get up earlier to take care of chores and other responsibilities that would take longer to do with everyone underfoot. You might build in special lunch and snack times. You might want to tweak the night routine to still mark transition times but make them more soothing and attuned…
- Working from home: When working from home coordinate work schedules and childcare coverage with other adults (partner, family member, friend, nanny/sitter – swap favors even…) to maximize productivity and great care. Don’t try to juggle both. This creates overwhelm, chaos, reactivity, acting out, anxiety, stress, and exhaustion…
Be flexible on how you tackle your “work hours”. Depending on the nature of your work, discuss with your supervisor a flexible plan to “put in your time” and get your work done that’s not necessarily the traditional 9-5.
If regular office hours presence is required, discuss covering the 9-5 in shifts by your teammates or coworkers and to have meetings scheduled during certain times of the day to allow for more flexibility for everyone. Other work can be completed off hours as needed.
- Getting work done: Also, when working from home, protect your work time by allocating a workspace that’s free from distractions. If you live in close quarters get creative on how to create a reduced distraction space and time-chunks…
Of course tackle all the other practicalities – have supplies and everything you need in one place and organized, have passwords and access to all platforms and accounts handy, use online shared spaces/apps to collaborate, up your internet speed, upgrade your software as necessary, and have a backup system in place.
This will eliminate multitasking, lack of focus and frustrations helping manage stress and time wasters and increase productivity. You might get your work done quicker and actually free up time…
- Kids schoolwork: Just like you are setting yourself up to be productive with work, you have to do the same for school age children. They might require different supervision during “schoolwork” time than during “free-time”. This is to be managed by the “covering” adult. Use your judgement on who covers what time during the days…
Also, set up children for cooperation. Explain that this is serious, and they are expected to cooperate, behave and be responsible for themselves and their work. This might be a good time to revisit your parenting style, how you discipline, guide/teach, support, encourage and inspire your children…
Be careful not to be too different from the usual as that’ll create more resistance and potential acting out. Keep things light, simple, and reassuring while providing guidelines and structure. Children do best when they know what’s expected and what’s going to happen. Layout the day in front of them to create security. Remember, they are affected by the upheaval too. Praise and celebrate cooperation.
- Creating flow: Aside from managing routines and time, you can manage and use your space to flow through the day with more ease. Use different parts of your home (even if different corners of a room…) for different types of activities.
Designate rooms or spots for work, schoolwork, projects, fun and play, downtime and relaxation and such. This helps the brain get with the program and cooperate. This helps manage mood, focus, energy, etc.
- Beyond the basics: Outside of responsibilities and doing the business of life, here is where things can get really amazing… This is where we can look for possibilities for great things to come from these tough times. The silver lining if you may. I see people bogging out about having to entertain children longer than usual. This is where we can be role models, inspire and help them thrive.
Aside from looking for more toys, games, crafts, TV shows and movies, and gaming apps, how about looking for opportunities for growth and development – this can range from learning how to play an instrument, explore a new language or culture, binge watch the science, history or documentary channels, focus on an interest, take on a new hobby, etc.
This can go as far as taking a talent or gift, such as music, art, writing, entrepreneurship, technology, debate, caring for others or anything else and creating a project of it. The project can be just for kicks or for higher accomplishment and impact. The sky is the limit. This is specially a great idea for middle and high schoolers. They can take something on and get consumed with it…
- Enjoying connection: Another terrific benefit of this imposed togetherness is the togetherness… LOL We usually have such filled and hectic lives that we don’t slow down enough to Be with each other. With less extracurricular activities, commitments, events, travel, commuting, etc. We have more free time in our hands and more free time with each other.
I know this is scary for most… But this is a gem when done properly… Create specific times that are designated family and couple time regardless that you are all together all the time… The different designation implies different focus, energy, activities and such. This is how you’ll move from a blob of togetherness and potentially getting on each other’s nerves, to enjoying being with each other.
This also means, creating separate times to be individuals… Can’t be part of the whole all the time, it can get to be too much… Intentionally build this into the routine and honor it. This is for everyone…
Our daughter, Vanessa, is already amazing at carving out and protecting her NessyTime. She knows she needs down-alone-time and she’ll make sure she gets it. LOL
- Your partner and relationship: And, of course, take advantage of the Couple Time… You’ll have a chance to connect differently than usual, seize the moment. Here you can explore common interests, different fun, deeper intimacy, more TLC, and more… This covers a whole spectrum of being with each other:
-From increasing fun by exploring interests like cooking different cuisines, learning new skills, exploring topics or concepts, taking on a new hobby or project, listening to influencers or fun podcasts, reading the same book, being playful and lighter.
-To nurturing the relationship with doing Appreciations, keeping a Positivity Journal, creating a Vision Board, stepping up caring gestures with your Love Languages, being super intentional about being present and attuned, flirting and increasing affection, ensuring moments to be intimate…
-To enriching the relationship by reading relationship success material, learning relationship tools and skills, working through any kinks and areas that usually trip you up, focusing on changing and upgrading how you show up to create the relationship you want…
~> Check-out our upcoming 1Day Virtual Event, the Relationship Enrichment Bootcamp™ (REB), on 4/4, where I delve into the 5 Elements of the Successful Couple Strategy™ and share specific tools, processes and protocols easy to implement but super powerful for creating the transformation in your relationship… Oh yeah, it’s a super-rich day! Don’t miss the bonuses and debut rates, learn more HERE.
- Paramount Self-care:And, it goes without saying to not forget the self-care… It is imperative that you don’t forgo your usual self-care practice (tweak as necessary). And, if you don’t have one that you create one!
It doesn’t have to be an intense lineup of things you do. But do be mindful to create some moments to recharge and reconnect with your Self… The world is a better place when you do…
This can mean soaking in the tub before going to bed, keeping a Gratitude Journal, meditating before you jump out of bed, getting a workout app to replace the gym, giving yourself “spa treatments” from facials, to scrubs, to mani/pedis, seating with a cup of tea, whatever…
Here are a three of my favorite go-tos:
This challenging time doesn’t have to be the undoing of us. It could be a blessing in disguise, and the doing of us… How about we operate with that mindset from now on? You’ll be surprised at the yumminess that starts flowing…
ASSIGNMENT: Take note of what your go-to thoughts are, how you are feeling, and how you are managing yourself, your family, your home, and your work…
Identify where you can stand to clean up and align your approach for better outcomes. Where you can be more intentional and proactive. No need to overdo anything and overcompensate. Just notice, realign, and take gentle, caring and yet swift action.
Think on how this imposed lifestyle change can actually be a blessing in disguise and full of opportunities to design the life you want…
Embrace the change…
ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENT: Support businesses that are losing foot traffic by purchasing gift certificates to be used at a later time.
Think on how else you can be proactively supportive in your community.
AND, IF THIS RESONATES…
Register for our upcoming 1Day Virtual Event on 4/4:
In a nutshell, we’ll cover:
1 ~ Context / Mindset – Getting Unstuck, breaking the impasse
(effective boundaries, personal ownership, personal empowerment)
2 ~ Communication / Alignment – Improving communication and getting on the same page
(deescalating fights, resolving conflict, detailed communication protocols)
3 ~ Clarity / Dynamics – Changing patterns, getting needs met, resolving recurring issues
(self-healing and growing, self-reprogramming, self-regulating)
4 ~ Connection / Intimacy – Increasing connection, intimacy and fun
(feeling connected, rekindling desire, dating each other)
5 ~ Collaboration / Partnership – Creating a strong partnership
(synchronizing, sharing the load, creating your dream home, relationship and life)
I’m telling you; it’s going to be AMAZING!
A couple of things to note:
- You should both register for better access
- There will be a replay for your future and ongoing reference
- You can attend separately (on different devices/locations)
- You can attend individually (if one is not available)
- There is no interaction with others, you only participate by posting comments or questions if you like
Plus, it’s on a weekend and from the comfort of your own home… Can’t beat that nowadays!
Hope you join us!
Complete the Assignment, and share your takeaway, insights, and results with a note in the Comments box at the end! I’d love to hear how you are using this content.
Copyright (c) 2020 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.